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Local real estate similar to ‘the wild, wild west’

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PamDeBlasioPam DeBlasioBy Emily Banks Wooten
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“She is the first person I met, the first person I saw, and I was so delighted at how she described Livingston when my husband and I moved here,” Rotarian Bev Reed said of Pam DeBlasio, who provided a recent program for the Rotary Club of Livingston.

“The Lake Livingston market currently has 757 listings with a total list price of $169,684,172. She’s been here for over 25 years and works for the nation’s only lake-focused brokerage, Lake Homes Realty. She currently has 28 listings in this market and is ranked number two out of 379 agents with listings in this market. She has 12 off-lake listings totaling $1,703.447. In 2022, she won the Alpha Award for sales over $20 million and in 2023, she won the Big Wave Award for sales over $10 million,” Reed said.

DeBlasio likened real estate in Polk County to “the wild, wild west,” in recent times, with COVID sales, skyrocketing prices and exceptionally low interest rates.

She explained that to become an agent, one must take 180 class hours, take a national and state test and that Texas’ is one of the hardest to pass. To become a broker, one must have 900 hours and multiple years of experience.

DeBlasio explained that to buy, one must identify an agent, line up financing and look at properties. “Hopefully, it can be fun and a learning process and not too stressful if you have the right people,” she said.

She touched on interest rates and said the difference in rates can be a make or break for a new home buyer or a step-up buyer.

“They are predicting that we are going to see a little bit of a drop with it being an election year,” she said, adding, “We’re definitely in a buyers’ market right now.

“It’s never a bad time to sell. You just need to know what your bottom line is and what you need to do,” she said, emphasizing the importance of curb appeal, keeping the home clean and uncluttered and staging.

“You want broad appeal. Pricing correctly is so important, especially now with the current market we’re in,” she said.

“Sellers were still trying to ride the wave of COVID in which a home was on the market for 30 days. Now, it’s 60-90 days. Buyers have become more particular. They want to look at a home that is move-in ready so present your property in its best light,” DeBlasio said.

If you’re attempting to sell acreage, she recommended doing a little underbrushing and cutting some paths, saying it will garner more attention.

“Just looking at Polk County, there are approximately 260 homes on the market and the average price is $315,000. Twenty-three are waterfront on the Livingston/Polk County side and of those 23, only six are under $600,000,” she said.

“We like to see a little more of an equitable market. There are right around 100 acreage listings and the average price per acre is about $15,000. As for single family homes, there is one that’s over $5 million and another that’s $42,000,” she said, adding, “HGTV has done a terrible job of exploding everyone’s expectations.”

She said there are lots ranging from $4,500 all the way up to $1.3 million.

“Downtown Livingston is going through a renaissance. Most of the folks I’m dealing with want to be in downtown or in that 190 corridor to the lake,” she said, adding that it is very difficult to price commercial property in the area.

“We’re in an area that doesn’t have a lot of industry and there’s a very large rental need, so if you’re looking to invest in rental property, it’s still a very good bet,” she said, adding that people typically pay $1,500 a month to rent. “There’s no end in sight for the need for rental property. It’s still a very valid investment.”

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